tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 4, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
too-easy question. who was james buchanan's vp? no one knows. john r. breckenridge. that'll do it for us. we'll see you later. >> that's great. will this be the counterattack? let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews live from longwood, university, in farmville, virginia. and here we are, here we are, in fact, 30 miles from appomattox courthouse, where general lee surrendered to general grant, thereby ending a civil war that cost the lives of 600,000 americans. well, tonight, we're here at longwood university for a battle in a political conflict between two very different points of view. it's the vice presidential debate between indiana governor
mike pence, republican, against virginia senator, tim kaine, democrat. it's governor pence's test tonight, obviously, to turn the battle from a defensive donald trump to an attack on hillary clinton. and to do so, he will need to execute a classic debate tactic, the attack from a defensive position. he needs to strike at hillary, most likely at her weak numbers on trustworthiness, at the very moment she and her running mate are assaulting trump. trump spent the past week battling a former miss universe, defending himself against a "new york times" article on his taxes, and mocking clinton's health and even her marriage. let's watch. >> she was the winner and you know, she gained a massive amount of weight. and it was -- it was a real problem. we had -- we had a real problem. not only that, her attitude. >> the news media is now obsessed with an alleged tax filing from the 1990s. i was able to use the tax laws of this country and my business acumen to dig out of the real
estate mess. she's supposed to fight all of these different things, and she can't make it 15 feet to her car. give me a break. give me a break. hillary clinton's only loyalty is to her financial contributors and to herself. i don't even think she's loyal to bill, if you want to know the truth. and really, folks, really, why should she be, right? why should she be? >> meanwhile, today, clinton again knocked trump on his taxes. let's watch. >> he lost $1 billion. and as i've said repeatedly, that's hard to do when you're running casinos, but it demonstrates, i think, unequivocabl unequivocably, that he was a failure at business and he wrecked businesses, and by wrecking businesses, he wrecked the lives of his workers, he
stiffed contractors, and he generally disregarded the well-being of the communities, someone who is claiming to run for president based on his business success should be judged by that business. and i think what we're finding out is deeply troubling. >> well, donald trump tried to turn the attack back on clinton. let's watch him there. >> she complains how i've used the tax laws of this country to my benefit. then i ask a simple question. why didn't she ever try to change those laws so i couldn't use them? the reason that she did not do that is her donors and contributors have used those same tax laws that i did, the same way. >> tonight im joined by nbc's andrea mitchell, and "usa today's" senior political
reporter, heidi przybyla. andrea, give us a sense of this fight from both ends? >> reporter: first of all, the clinton team is feeling really energized. they're up in two polls now by nine and ten points in two separate polls in pennsylvania, which is their firewall. she's there today, appealing to suburban republican women in those bedroom suburbs of delaware county. and what they're going to try to do tonight is to have, excuse me, to have tim kaine go after mike pence on all of the things that donald trump has, they think, messed up on this week, opening up all of these issues, the taxes, as well as, of course, the women's issues. they think that he can, you know, prosecute that case against mike pence. pence, of course, they think, will be on the offensive, on the defensive, but pence is planning to go after clinton on her trust, on her reliability, and on those issues you heard donald trump bringing up today.
so it's going to be quite a matchup, i think, these two very policy wonkish running mates, taking on the roles of attack dogs. >> i wonder tonight, i know watching fighting as i grew up, big, heavyweight boxing, i always watch, the middleweight fights are always the better fights. speaking of polls, a new nbc online tracking poll out today shows clinton beating trump by six points. that's a pretty strong lead for hillary clinton. we also have new polls from several battleground states. clinton leads trump by 11 in a new poll in colorado. that's a big move towards hillary. and trump's ahead by five in ohio. that's where he's been. clinton also leads by 10 in a new monmouth poll. that's huge. that is the firewall. andrea's right about that. pennsylvania is the firewall. that's where clinton will probably win the way things are going, and trump is not going to win there, the way things are going. she's up by seven, also in virginia, another part of that firewall. and up six in one north carolina
poll, although that's much closer. in florida, she leads by five in a new quinnipiac poll. that's another state that's going to remain close. let me go to me other people here today. i think the most predictable thing at 9:00 tonight, besides the fact it's going to be 9:00, is that tim kaine will be doing what hillary's been doing, hit him on his taxes and his treatment of women. it's so predictable, therefore, it should be easy for mike pence to predict the attack and counter it. >> i think mike pence knows he's here to defend donald trump -- >> or attack. >> or attack, but i think you have a second line of attack that democrats or tim kaine will use. mike pence's job tonight is try to make trump look normal or seem normal to that last bastion of suburban republican women. and tim kaine's job is to make mike pence look strange. and pence was put on the ticket to normalize trump, to make him acceptable to those who are
uncertain with trump's being. women are the swing vote. if he goes after him on things like the religious freedom restoration act, which is a very important thing to young voters. if he goes after him on things like planned parenthood, defunding it in indiana, i think mike pence himself will come under attack, not just donald trump. >> but i don't know why you attack a vp. i would attack the top guy. what do you think? >> i think mike pence, there's no upside to him owning a lot of the things that tim kaine is going to try to make him own today. he's going to try to make him own donald trump and all of these -- think of all of the things that have happened since the last debate, in terms of alicia machado and the taxes -- >> i don't think it's complicated. let me ask you both, because it'll be my rhetorical question. what's the safest thing for any politician on the republican side down the road. defend donald trump or attack hillary clinton. >> attack. >> explain why. >> the republican party has an
existential hatred of hillary clinton. >> and she'll be around. if she doesn't get elected this time, she'll go again next time. and you're in a perfect position, if you're already attacking hillary clinton, to be attacking her now so you can do it later. whereas defending trump is dangerous. >> and you also have to remember that republicans are looking for a midterm in twoigt, where they don't know how much of their own electoral base will be for donald trump. >> not to mention that trump -- first of all, not to mention that trump didn't prosecute this case himself. this is one of things coming out of his last debate that republicans were most upset about, that he didn't take the opportunity to hit her on the clinton foundation, on libya, on benghazi, or even on the e-mails, which was such low-hanging foot. >> mike pence has got to do what trump didn't do and go after hillary clinton tonight. i'm absolutely convinced the tactic tonight to watch is attack from a defensive position. everybody including all the republicans and all the commentators will say, oh, mike pence has got to defend donald trump. no, he doesn't. he could just attack hillary clinton. earlier today, hillary clinton
responded to a question from a student about trump's comments on how women look. why would mike pence want to comment on that tonight. just stay away and attack hillary. >> you know, it's shocking when women are called names and judged on the basis, solely on the basis of physical attributes. we have to stand up against that. my opponent insulted miss universe. i mean, how do you get more acclaimed than that? but it wasn't good enough. so we can't take any of this seriously anymore. we need to laugh at it. we need to refute it. we need to ignore it. and we need to stand up to it. and especially the bullying. >> we've got andrea mitchell back. andrea, give me a sense of what you think pence will do. i have a theory. i don't think he's playing defense tonight. what a waste of time.
he can't defend trump. trump's got to defend trump. >> absolutely. i think he goes after hillary clinton in ways, as you just pointed out, that donald trump didn't. the e-mails, cybersecurity, all the things he did not open up, because he got so distracted in the debate, once she really got him off his game, by mentioning that he had inherited that company, $14 million loan from his dad. and after that, he just kept returning over and over and over again to his business issues, which were hardly what he should have been prosecuting in that debate against hillary clinton. so mike pence is very smart. you know, he clearly knows how to go after hillary clinton tonight. and you know he will have prepared a whole lot better than donald trump. >> yeah, and i think pence is a very serious guy, perhaps a lot of people would say in terms of politics, too serious. but he's deadly. i want to go back to my colleagues here. mike pence, look at the guy! he's in this thing, seriously, he isn't here to have fun. he has an ideological commitment, he actually says what he believes, which
separates him from most politicians. you may not like his very conservative views on women, on abortion rights, on gay rights -- >> and a lot of women may not know them. >> but he is for real. that separates him from most politicians, i'm sorry, that's rare. >> and he took a job that was probably the most unpopular, unwanted job in republican politics. you see other elected republicans running for donald trump and cringing. >> candidate for governor of indiana. >> there you go. the other issue is that mike pence may want to do the full pivot. you can call it the full 180. you're asked a question about the same kelly ayotte question. he gets that question, would you be proud to have your children or your church see donald trump of president. is that something which you can be of proud. good luck trying to do a 180-degree pivot answering that question. and he's got to answer it. you can't do a 180. >> depends who the moderator is. i've watched a lot of moderators who don't push a second and third time. >> and think about the tax issue. donald trump has not had to answer for this in the way that mike pence will have to answer
for donald trump. >> is the moderator tonight going to be tough and keep pressing like that, do you think? >> it's hard to say. but she's a tough reporter, she's a good recorder. i haven't seen her do a debate. but i think at this moment, the media is under such pressure, as well, if she doesn't try to get him to answer that question, if she lets him go, she's going to face a lot of criticism. >> where do we stand right now on the role of the moderator? is it the fact checker or not? one of our colleagues got attacked for not fact checking, and another one got hit for fact -- what is the state of the art on that? do you fact check or not? >> i think you have to do it as appropriate, you have to expect that the debaters will do a lot of fact checking for you. but you have to do a considerable amount of fact checking yourself. but each moderator has to make their own decision. but i think mike pence has an easy answer. i think he's all in with donald trump. he cannot not say, of course i would be proud, of course he's a role model. i really think that he believes in this, but on all of the
issues where trump has been arguably rude and vulgar, he'll just pivot back to things that he believes hillary clinton has done wrong. >> i think he can isolate where he supports trump. he said, he can say trump has hathe guts to take on the political establishment in this country, that's an act of courage in my department and i do respect it. he can define what he likes about trump. grown-up politicians can define their answers. here we are in virginia, thomas jefferson said, the whole art of politics is the art of telling the truth. if they'd only remember that. thank you, andrea mitchell. thank you, heidi prez byla and joy joy reid. coming up, what did mike pence and tim kaine hope to publish tonight? for kaine, it might be to do no harm, but after the rough week donald trump has had, pence might have the sharper challenge. he has to break the clinton charge if he doesn't, who's going to do it? coming up at the top of the hour, i'll be joining brian williams and rachel maddow as we get ready for tonight's debate. and then tim kaine and mike pence go face to face in the
only vice presidential debate for the vice presidents. we'll be back with full coverage of the debate and i'll be back here covering everything that happens tonight until 1:00 a.m. eastern. we're sticking with you. "hardball's" coming back, and this is a special edition of "hardball" live from longwood university in farmville, virginia, site of the vice presidential debate.
as a supervisor at pg&e, it's my job to protect public safety, keeping the power lines clear, while also protecting the environment. the natural world is a beautiful thing, the work that we do helps us protect it. public education is definitely a big part of our job, to teach our customers about the best type of trees
to plant around the power lines. we want to keep the power on for our customers. we want to keep our community safe. this is our community, this is where we live. we need to make sure that we have a beautiful place for our children to live. together, we're building a better california. it's a wild night here. look at these people! >> all right. >> you know, this is -- [ cheers and applause ] we're out here in the country, this isn't some suburb in bedroom community of virginia, this is way out in the country here. live from longwood university in
farmville, virginia, for tonight's vice presidential debate. by the way, everybody knows, women make up a larger share of the electorate than men. everybody keeps forgetting this, more women voters than male voters. anyway, today, they're getting the full-court press from hillary clinton. two of clinton's most powerful surrogates, michelle obama, and senator elizabeth warren hit the campaign trail today to exploit trump's terrible week and boost turnout. here they go. >> if a candidate regularly demeans and humiliates women, making cruel and insulting comments about our bodies, criticizing how we look, how we act, well, sadly, that's who that candidate really is. >> well, she's good. and with good reason, according to nbc's most recent online survey among women likely voters, a majority 52% said they support clinton compared to just 34% who say they support trump. that's quite a spread. down here in farmville, it will be up to both vice presidential
candidates to make the hard sell for both of the people at the top of their tickets, obviously, they're the big surrogates, the vp nominees. governor mike pence will have the more challenging task, with of course, because after a bad week, some people say a horrible week for trump, it will be up to him to turn the battle against hillary clinton, and that's a challenge. pence is strongly pro-life, of course, and in 2015, passed a controversial religious freedom bill that gave stronger legal defenses to business ifs they refused to serve gay people. anyway, here's how he described himself when he accepted the nomination for vp. >> i'm a christian, a conservative, and a republican, in that order. >> well, tim kaine, who during the 2012 senate election, carried 56% of women voters in virginia will have to defend his own complicated views on abortion. whether he's personally pro-life, but we'll get to that. for more, i'm joined by senator amy klobuchar, democrat from minnesota, and virginia governor, terry mcauliffe. both are clinton supporters, big-time!
anyway, thank you. thank you, governor. this is -- >> this is something! >> okay, i really love this trip down here. >> welcome to virginia. >> i love coming down here tonight. >> great place. farmville. you're both, i know, besides being statespersons and men and women of the world who care about this country, you're also political tacticians and strategists. you know, what is -- let's try, you're both here supporting secretary clinton and tim kaine, who's a very likable guy. we all like tim kaine. but let me ask you, tell me about that battle between the two different personalities, mike pence and tim kaine. size them up, as debaters, as personalities. >> first of all, both very strong. i've known tim now for two decades. i have known governor pence for a long time. i served a as chairman of the national governor's association, he has a much harder deal tonight. tim kaine talks about hillary clinton's vision, build the middle class, getting people back to work. mike pence tonight has to defend all of the things you've been talking about on this show. i think he has a much tougher
road tonight, to be able to have to defend all of the things -- >> can he pivot? >> he's going to have a hard time pivoting. people want answers. donald trump said all the following things. this is the ticket, how do you respond? tim kaine can talk about the five-point plan of economic development, how we can move this country forward. you're in virginia today. we are a swing state. we have been very strong for clinton and kaine now for months and months. hillary has been up here for the last eight months, anywhere from 7 to 12 points. >> you say it's a swing state, but it's getting to be a democrat state, isn't it? >> yeah. >> twice for obama. >> when i won the governorship, i broke a 44-year trend. i brought in with me my lieutenant governor. democrats swept, and democrats now control all five statewides here in the commonwealth of virginia. why, economic -- i just announced the other day, lowest unemployment rate of any major state in america. >> he knows it better than any of us know, women in this state. going into virginia is packed with a lot of women who come to work in the washington area, a lot of them are single women,
they are very pro-choice. and we have watched this with the doug water campaign and all the campaigns, women in virginia are pro-choice, the state is pro-choice. is that going to be an issue tonight. >> i think it will be discussed. >> because pence is very pro-life. >> pence has said he would want to overturn roe v. wade. this will be part of the debate. i don't think it's the only issue for women, though, chris, as you know. women workers are two-thirds of the minimum wage workers. and the fact that hillary clinton has been out there on increasing the minimum wage, on a strong work family leave policy, on a strong child care policy, a lot of women are focused on those, and that's why you see that, in addition to the debate performance, where after she answered every question for an hour and a half, he had the gall to look at the camera and look at her, and say, you don't have the stamina to be the president of the united states. >> was that a dog whistle for you? >> i crescreamed at the tv. i yelled at the tv.
i was thinking, are you -- what is wrong with you? >> it's the strangest word. you guys live longer than we do, you bear children, and anybody who's been through a childbirth -- all we can do is watch and you have babies. i don't know what this stamina thing is about. let me ask you about young people. how many are millennials? how many, okay? they are millennials. both candidates have had a hard time stirring these guys up. how do they do it? they have a month to do it. >> look what's going on -- listen, everybody out here, they want a good-paying job. that's what they want. they own a great education system. hillary has come out with her plan in a state school, if you make $125,000, you will get a higher education. this is what these folks out here all want. they want a good-paying job, an avenue to success, why is bernie sanders all over the country, he's out there supporting hillary clinton because he knows that she's the right thing for this country and she's the right thing for millennials. >> why do millennials vote for
gary johnson if they voted for brrnds? that's what i can't understand. how can you go from socialist to libertarian? you handle this, senator. how can you go from socialist to libertarian? it makes no sense. >> i think bernie sanders in my home state today has a lot to do that. he's out there talking about why the vote should be -- >> is hillary closer to socialist or libertarian? who is she closer to? this is "hardball." come on. what's she closer to? you don't want to answer? >> one more thing about the millennials, chris, they support each other and when you have a candidate in donald trump who's going after immigrants and wants to get rid of gay marriage and those sort of things, they respond to that. >> and who's promising immigration reform? hillary clinton. >> let's get it done. >> i think that's one thing that's got to get done. anyway, thank you. >> thank. >> very popular figure here. very popular governor. >> we spend every penny you've got here in virginia before you go across the potomac river, chris. >> we're going to the silver diner on the way home tomorrow.
thank you, senator amy klobuchar, a very popular person in the united states, and terry mcauliffe, who's some day going to rule the world. when we come back, all eyes on mike pence, after the bad week donald trump had, can pence dig him out? i think pence will go on offense tonight like you've never seen. he is a tough customer. we're about 90 minutes away from the start of this debate. by the way, middleweight fights are always much more exciting than heavyweight fights. we're live in longwood university in virginia. back more after this.
as a businessman and real estate developer, i have legally used the tax laws to my benefit, and to the benefit of my company, my investors, and my employees. i mean, honestly, i have brilliantly -- i have brilliantly used those laws. the unfairness of the tax laws is unbelievable. it's something i've been talking about for a long time, despite, frankly, being a big beneficiary of the laws. but i'm working for you now. i'm not working for trump. >> what a crowd we have here. what a crowd. anyway, that was donald trump defending his tax laws. it was at a campaign stop yesterday in colorado.
trump's been playing defense on that lately, so will his running mate, mike pence tonight defend trump's troubles in the debate or instead hit at hillary clinton's weak points? hugh hewitt is a radio talk show host and an msnbc contributor and john brabender is a strategist. john and hugh, i'll go back to my point of view, critique me on this. the worst thing in the world that mike pence could do tonight is spending his hour and a half defending trump. because trump may not be around in four or eight years, but hillary clinton will be. and she will always been the nemesis of the republican party. i think the smart move for him is attack hillary where he can, where she's justified, hit hard and harder again and again, relentlessly bringing the case against his credibility. she's at 61%, unbelieved right now by the american people. don't waste your time on machado or taxes, you won't gain an inch. but you can gain a lot on going after hillary. >> i think she can't spend the whole time saying, donald trump said this because. i think he has to give some
confidence of who donald trump really is from a first person perspective, but move the conversation to hillary. she's got to make sort of the conviction or the prosecution of her, but he's got to do it in a tone and temperament different than donald trump has. he has to use facts and still come across as likable and believable, rather than by shouting or by rhetoric that -- >> where would you put the first punch, on her general lack of credibility, on the whole history starting in the early 90s of vague trouble. always of the unending soap opera around the clintons, that seems to always be there. how do you do -- >> i think there's two things he should do. number one is that. they're going to say, they gamed the system. every chance they had, they gamed the system for personal benefit. second of all, i think he's going to talk a lot about how she's been there for 24 years, we tried it her way. she likes to say she's tested, but he's going to say, she failed the test. >> how do you critique my suggestion you go on offense?
>> 100% correct. she has to be the target of every single statement he makes tonight. not senator kaine, not donald trump, but egypt, libya, syria, the server, the supreme court, the status of forces agreement she did not come up with. donald trump today, double the pr premiums, half the coverage. it's his first speech in a presidential campaign. whether it's in 2020, or 2024, mike pence is going to run for president. he ought to bring up obama's bad six-word legacy as well, leading from behind, red line, and jvs. he has to hit those squares. >> can he get the headline tomorrow? can he come out, pence attacks clinton on credibility. if it's, pence defends trump, i think that's a wash. >> i think you have to be careful tonight. i don't think this is the kind of debate where you'll have dramatic headlines. i think what you can do, mike
pence is so likable and knowledgeable that he can do a better job than trump can, to create the real doubts of hillary clinton, and why they matter. trump just sort of throws them out there and assumes people will know, i think mike pence is better at putting it in context, why people should be outraged about what hillary clinton has -- >> one thing he can do is build audience for sunday night. he needs to get trump to get back into the ring against hillary clinton with a reset. if you want change in this country, if you think we're on the wrong direction, watch sunday night, a different donald trump is coming. >> let's talk about how he handles the tricky stuff to get to the attack. the question was asked of kelly ayotte, the senator from new hampshire, do you want donald trump to be your kid's role model. there's an answer for that, in terms of guts taking on the establishment, yeah, in terms of guts. nobody's perfect, but there's certain things the guy does represent. i don't like his marital history. >> what he'll say is, i've
gotten to know druonald trump vy well, let me tell you what i do like about him, but let me tell you why i would be scared to death for them to turn out like hillary clinton. >> and this is the first presidential election history, where there the known knowns -- this is the first time we know the negatives about each of them. >> every presidential debate, i've watched almost all of them, in fact, all of them, the winner is the person who attacks from a defensive position. there you go, carter attacking reagan's record on medicare. or it's, what's his name, dan quayle saying he's jack kennedy. every time you go on the offense, the other guy or woman has the chance to respond at that moment, that precise moment of attack, when the attackers most vulnerable and most committed nail them right in the nose. >> that what's chris christie did to marco rubio. >> that's what you can do. >> but pence doesn't have to prove he's credible. >> i know. i'm talking about, can you attack and hurt. anyway, thank you, hugh hewitt, thank you, john brabender. both great guests on this
program. up next, hillary clinton's bringing out the heavy hitters. she's taking no chances now that she's got the lead in the polls. she's got the best surrogate team around. plus, the "hardball" rules on how to win or lose a debate. we'll get to that. what can mike pence and tim kaine learn from past vp debates? you're watching "hardball," a special edition, live from longwood university where tonight's vice presidential debate.
so listening is a huge part of my job. because customers want to know that you hear them. they have kids, they have families, they have priorities. i definitely understand that. i have three children, i was a stay at home mom, i didn't have money to pay the bills, and so i put myself in their shoes. and i'm going to do all that i can to lower their bills and to help their situation. to choose the rate plan that works best for your family, visit pge.com/rates. together, we're building a better california. when it comes to the qualifications that we should demand of our president, to start, we need someone who will take the job seriously. i think we can all agree that someone who's roaming around at 3:00 a.m. tweeting should not have their fingers on the nuclear codes. >> you know, what an
accomplished platform speaker the first lady has become all these years. welcome back to "hardball," live at longwood university for tonight's vice presidential debate. in fact, just about an hour and 20 minutes from now, it's going to happen. and that was, of course, the fantastic first lady, michelle obama, on the campaign trail today in north carolina. she's one of several high-profile candidates to hit the trail for hillary clinton in what amounts to be an impressive surrogate operation. we're looking at a bunch of them there. keep in mind, of course, president obama, who's announced he plans to spend two days a week campaigning for clinton. and unlike george w. bush in 2008, obama's approval rating is at 54% according to gallup, which means he's in a unique position to help secure a third consecutive timber for his party. joining me, john heilemann, host of "with all due respect." megan murphy, washington bureau chief for bloomberg, and jason johnson politics editor at the
root. you've been great on the show lately. let's talk about the president. i can't think of a time since eisenhower back in '60 where a sitting president is this popular and can go out and throw his weight behind his apparently's nominee. >> look, he can sing, he can bring people out -- >> he can sing? >> look, he sings. when obama gets in front of certain block audiences, he will sing. he's al green. he'll have to put in this time to pull her over the finish lain. >> bill clinton had a problem again today. first lady, what a surrogate. she sort of kept herself to herself. she's never been a politician. she doesn't bang the drum for her party or her husband. she's sort of like a movie star, you don't see much of her, but when you do, you pay attention. >> i think it's a perfect analogy, and her use on the campaign trail shows how deeply personal they both feel this race is. they, feel it's not only hillary
clinton, but but their legacy, as well. >> what's personal for this besides her husband's legacy? >> he's an anathema for everything they stood for. >> she doesn't like the birther stuff? >> she doesn't like the birther stuff, how he treats women, this is everything to them, it is personal. and i think michelle obama has proven, she would be almost the most effective surrogate hillary clinton has, particularly closing the gap with women. >> we have not seen an effective big-time surrogate in our lifetime. a president with somebody running for governor. here you have the president of the united states and a first lady with the firepower that might change. i think this month, you'll see a lot of obama. >> i will say, reggie jackson is a good analogy. david ortiz may be a better analogy. an even better collection -- >> you want to explain that? >> david ortiz has become the
best clutch hitter, best october/november player ever in baseball. but we're going too far afield. here's the thing, i think it's -- forget about legacy and all that stuff. you can't glide past the birther thing. donald trump was the face of the movement that tried to delegitimatize barack obama's presidency on racial grounds. they are both, as a couple, have been deeply offended and angered by that from the moment that it started. and so this is a thing of like, we don't want that guy to occupy this seat. not just what he would do to our legislative accomplishments, it's a deeply personal thing. deeply personally. >> i have to ask you about who else won't matter. does bill clinton count anymore in terms of this? he tries, but i don't know if he's got the -- >> i think when you're looking at this election -- >> i'm asking him. don't dodge off of this. is bill clinton an effective surrogate? >> i think she's got far more effective surrogates out there. >> bill clinton still got it? >> he can still play in certain parts of the electorate. >> where? >> they're sending him to a lot of places to -- he's going to spend most of his time going to
rural communities, going to places -- he says -- >> who's a better politician, him or her now? hillary or bill? who's better right now? >> she's on an incredible wave up. >> who's better. >> i think he's a better politician. he's the best explainer surrogate she's got. he can get on stage and explain policy in 20 minutes. >> if he doesn't screw it up. >> what was he doing trashing obamacare. >> because he doesn't like him. i don't think he's ever been that happy about this president. >> when you say double the premiums for people that are working 60 hours a week, that's not exactly applauded. >> no, it's not. >> when we come back,ed t the "hardball" rules, how tim kaine or mike pence can win tonight's debate. this is "hardball," a special edition. we'll be right back.
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yeson64.org. let me just say, first of all, that i almost resent vice president bush, your patronizing attitude, that you have to teach me about foreign policy. >> who am i? why am i here? >> senator, you're no jack kennedy. >> tough moments. welcome back. those were some unforgettable and awfully nasty moments from past vice presidential debates. and over the past two weeks, we've covered the "hardball"
rules for how to win or lose a presidential debate. well, tonight we have some new advice for the vice presidential candidates before tonight's face-to-face showdown. here's what we've learned over the years. number one, do no harm. vice presidential candidates must protect the candidate at the top of the ticket. that means they need to avoid creating a side show, that might distract from the campaign's message. back in 1976, then senator bob dole famously ignored that advice when he blamed democrats for the wars of the 20th century. not only did he give his opponent, walter mondale, an opening to counterattack, it also put the campaign on the defensive for a couple of weeks. let's watch. >> it's not a very good issue, anymore than the war in vietnam would be or world war ii or world war i or the war in korea. all democrat wars, all in this century. i figured it up the other day. if we added up the killed and
wounded, and democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million americans, enough to fill the city of detroit. >> does he really mean to suggest to the american people that there was a partisan difference over our involvement in the war to fight nazi germany? >> well, actually, nazi germany declared war on us after pearl harbor. let's get straight that. anyway, clearly, mondale had an easy opening there, dole gave it to him. >> when you screw up that bad and the other person is waiting, it's kind of like, sarah palin, 2008, can i all you joe, so you could set up -- >> we'll get to that. >> you've got to make sure that your main goal is promoting your candidate. you're the side show, not the main event. >> and don't forget about the empire of japan after they attacked us. debate rule number two, be disarming with your opponent, showing a little civility can make your arguments more persuasive, especially since vice presidential candidates
aren't as well-known as the person at the top of the ticket. you're introducing yourself on a night like this. in 2008, sarah palin familiousl asked permission to use joe biden'sbiden's first name and showcased that kind of folksy charm throughout the debate. here she is, sarah palin. >> nice to meet you. can i call you joe? thank you. say it ain't so, joe, there you go pointing backwards again, though. you prefaced your whole comment with the bush administration. doggoneit, look ahead and tell americans what we plan to do for them in the future. >> al gore was similarly disarming with his opponent jack kemp at the start of the '96 vp debate. >> i'd like to start by offering you a deal, jack. if you won't use any football stories, i won't tell any of my warm and humorous stories about chlorofluorocarbon abatement. >> it's a deal.
i can't even pronounce it. >> well, that was a bit set up. talk about natural -- >> i think that seemed funnier at the time than it does now. >> tried to look warmer. >> this is tricky for governor pence, because one of his big missions tonight is he didn't hit out of benghazi and the things that hillary is vulnerable on. >> go tough. >> go tough. be disarming and tough. it's not as easy. he's got a big challenge. >> how will pence thread that needle be tough because he's got to carry the fight. >> i think he's got to be aggressive. he's going to be out so many times by kaine in places where he's in opposition for donald trump to answer for trump's mistakes. pence will try to do the quick pivot out of everything. >> i think he's smart enough to do it. but he has to fight on many
fronts. debate rule number three, don't get personal. in an attempt to explode then-vice president's dick cheney's division on gay rights, john edwards decided to invoke the sexual orientation of cheney's daughter. lynne chauny later called it a low blow. >> i think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. i think they love her very much. and you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. it's a wonderful thing. >> mr. vice president, you have 90 seconds. >> gwen, let me simply thank the senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter. i appreciate that very much. >> you're welcome. >> that's it. >> that's it. >> well, how do you the read cheney? that's the first time and maybe
the last i saw janie sigh. >> that's when cheney first got the idea for water boarding right there. >> that split screen told you everything. >> on to the next question. he was like keep my daughter's name out of your mouth. you don't have to go there. john edwards had plenty of things to criticize bush about. >> i wonder who on the staff said, great idea, go for the daughter. praise 'em before you hit 'em. president bill clinton knew any attacks the on bob dole's age could backfire. so he deftly took the issue off the table before going for the jugular. here is clinton at his best or you may say nastiest. >> i can only tell you that i don't think senator dole is too old to be president. it's the age of his ideas that i question. you're almost not old enough to remember this, but we tried this
before. promising people an election year tax cut that's not paid for. >> that was very nixonian, because he got the shout in about his age, but then i don't really mean to do that, but i'm going after his ideas. dole gave the scour. >> these guys have sharp, sharp policy contrasts. if we want to keep this debate away from the personal -- >> how do you put the sugar into that mix? stick it to the guy for being an -- then you say -- >> the problem is both these guys believe in what they're doing. hard to stick them on lots of things. it will be a policy debate. >> i don't think it will be that nice. can you get that sugary and get away with it? >> no.
just over an hour to go before the start of the vice presidential debate. there is mike pence in that group going into the debate center. he's the first guy in the row there, second guy. but it's all happening. we're back with the roundtable as we get ready for this debate. tell me something i don't know, megan murphy. >> our tell you something rnc already knows pence won the debate. they've released their post debate spin saying that governor pence did a great job hitting on hillary scandals and the economy. >> what i thought he was going to do, he's done. >> he's the clear winner. >> how do they keep making these
mistakes. >> i'm not sure how many virginians know this, but tim kaine has a weird thing in his head, like a reverse dyslexic. if you say any word to him, he can say it backwards to him immediately. if you say kaine, it's eniak. he can do anything. if there's silent letters. he had has a hard time with things like pneumonia. i tried that on him once. a great party trick. >> i can do alliteration like that, but not like that. >> all the great surrogates hillary clinton has. bill clinton, barack obama. she now has kermit the frog, now online as a brand-new meme supporting hillary clinton. people on the left have been using him to counter trump's pepe le frog on the left. >> that does it for this special edition of "hardball."
we're coming back late tonight with another one at midnight. i'll be joining rachel maddow for full coverage. msnbc's coverage of the vice presidential debate. tonight, the running mates, after the most watched presidential debate in history, all eyes turn to tim kaine. >> is there anybody that believes any word that donald trump says? >> and mike pence. >> hillary clinton believes that millions are deplorable. they're not a basket of deplorables. they are americans. >> in their only head-to-head matchup. >> donald trump is not ready to be president. >> hillary clinton will never be elected president. >> from msnbc, the place for politics, the vice presidential